Save the Labour Party - STLP !
I've just come into possession of the STLP News (July -August 2006) edition. It carries a fascinating insight into Labour members (current and recent past 670 /704 respectively) commissioned by STLP and polled by YouGov.
* 2/3 of party members want Blair out by Conference 2007
* 50% believe policy is made exclusively by Downing Street
* Only 50% think the government is 'faithful to Labour values'
* 75% believe that rich donors have too much influence over policy / running the LP
* 55% believe the manifesto should be put to ballot of party members
* 52% see Iraq as the governments worst blunder
* 49% thought the 'slavish'following of the USA was a mistake
* 36% thought failure to raise basic tax rates was a major failing of government
* 46% felt the privatisation of public services is also a mistake.
When one sees that those with the commitment to join the Labour party are so alienated and notes the majority of issues that repel them, then the LD surely need to state our case better to such people. As a former Labour activist / councillor it saddens me to see how the Labour party has degenerated into a party without either principle or probity.
Conversely it reaffirms I was right to join the LDs. The principle of OMOV in elections, the sovereignty of conference (even if some at Cowley Street might prefer otherwise), consistent values, many of which strike a chord with Labour supporters (civil liberties, personal freedom, progressive taxation and social justice, centrality of green issues and internationalism).
In the LD there is debate. Now I'm not a great fan of gung-ho free market liberalism. I see myself as being broadly 'on the left' but still find I have more in common with 'Orange Book-ers' on issues other than economics than I do with the authoritarian left [or right]. Try the novel, very unlike New Labour idea, of putting your case and winning or losing the argument / vote !
That a majority of staff on the normally pro-Labour 'New Statesman' came out for the LD at the 2005 GE tallies with the conclusions by those traditionally Labour-inclined above. Sorry STLP at present the Labour party isn't worth saving. Why be in a party, like some I know, when you overwhelmingly disagree with it's policies? Come on in ! Put tribal loyalties aside, consider the LDs on merit.